Garlic is an easy and important crop to grow. Not only is garlic used for culinary purposes, but it is so beneficial for your health and can be used medicinally. Learn all about the no till garlic planting process here.
Maybe you have spent all summer in the garden and were burnt out by the end. Maybe this is your first year gardening and you just want to get something going. Either way, I like garlic planting myself because after getting the garden cleaned up and ready for winter, I do feel relief, but I also feel sadness. Relief because I am tired from the gardening season but sadness that it’s over too. No till garlic planting helps ease some of that sadness. You want to plant seed garlic in the fall time so having something to put back into the ground that isn’t a lot work is really nice.
No Till Garlic Planting
The first thing you need to do get yourself some garlic plants to plant. I order my organic seed garlic bulb from Prairie Couteau Farm. Someday I might plant enough garlic to grow my own seed stock, but for now, I love getting my garlic from them.
Once you get your garlic plants, you need to separate the individual cloves from the bulb. The paper should still be covering the garlic cloves but if there is a bunch of really loose paper (also known as the hull), go ahead and remove it so there is a thin layer there. Do not expose the skin of the garlic.
The larger bulbs produce larger cloves, the smaller bulbs produce smaller cloves. Therefore, I prefer the largest cloves to use. You get more bang for your buck that way.
Set up your planting area. Ideally, there would have been new compost laid down a few weeks before planting time. Pick a small area (unless you are planting a giant amount of garlic) with full sun and well-drained soil. Since this is a no till garlic planting, this method is very easy. Don’t plant the garlic right on the edge of your garlic bed. Come in about 6 inches from the side. Then, make a hole into the soil surface. Just use your fingertip to show where you will be planting the garlic.
Move down a line and about every 6 inches, push your fingertip into the soil to make a new mark. If the soil is really good, you can get away with 4 inches. Do this enough times to have a spot for every individual garlic clove that you are going to plant.
If you find that the soil feels really heavy, you can broad fork your soil before planting. This helps loosen up the soil without actually destroying it. Garlic likes light, loose soil, not heavy soil
It’s time to plant the cloves! You will be planting the garlic right where the fingertip marks are. When garlic goes down into the ground, the pointy end of the garlic cloves needs to point up toward the sky. Fat end at the bottom, skinny pointy end at the top.
Make a hole about 3-5 inches deep. Using your fingertip is great but other options include using hand tools such as a screwdriver or a spade. If using a spade, don’t actually dig up a hole, just the spade into the ground and push it over a bit. Go down about 3-5 inches deep.
Once you have a deep enough hole, place the garlic in there, pointy end up, and cover up with soil.
Use some sort of stakes to mark where the rows are. Do this right away. This is the best way to know exactly where the garlic plants are.
Cover the garlic seed with a layer of mulch. 2-4 inches is a good amount. In the colder climates, go more towards the 4 inches. The winter months can be tough on garlic, the mulch will add protection. Most people use straw mulch but there are more options out there.Wood chips, grass clippings, or leaves are all mulches you can use. The following spring, this mulch will also protect against weeds. Garlic does not like any competition so the mulch helps with that.
Thats it! Unless you are in a drought, you shouldn’t have to water the garlic. If you are though, water about an inch of water a week until moisture starts coming in.
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More Things To Know About No Till Garlic Planting
- Garlic is a heavy feeder. Build up your soil fertility as much as possible. Adding compost a few weeks before planting time is a great idea. You can also use an organic fertilizer if needed. Steve Solomon, the author of The Intelligent Gardener, has a great recipe to use for fertilizer. Here is the link for his recipe.
- Don’t worry if you can’t get fall planting done. In the early spring, as soon as soil is workable, plant garlic into your spring garden. The bulbs will be smaller, but at least you won’t have to go to to grocery store for all your garlic needs!
When should garlic be planted?
Personally, in zone 5b, I like to use halloween as a way to remember that it’s time to plant garlic. Garlic is supposed to keep vampires away and vampires come to mind around halloween time. That makes it fun to never forget. Sometime around the fall equinox is good though. Late September to late October is the best time to plant. However, once the ground freezes, it’s too late.
What type of garlic should I plant?
There are two types of garlic. Hard neck garlic and soft neck garlic. If you live in the northern United States, hardneck varieties are what you should choose from.
Hardneck garlic has a thick, rigid stalk. It produces large cloves and often has a stronger flavor. This type of garlic puts out a stalk in the springtime called the scape. Garlic scapes should be harvested so the plants energy goes down into the bulb, producing larger bulbs.
Softneck garlic has a stem that flops over when it’s harvest time. It produces smaller, but more numerous cloves. This type of garlic stores the longest so it is probably what you will find in the grocery store.
Both hardneck and softneck garlic have different garlic varieties within them. That part is up to you. Try out different varieties to learn what you like best and see what kind of garlic grows best in your garden!
Can garlic be planted in containers?
Yes! Follow the same steps as given in no till garlic planting and next year, enjoy your harvest!
Why should I plant garlic?
Garlic adds flavor and has huge health benefits. During cold season, when coughs are going around, garlic can help loosen that up! If you look on pinterest, there are a million different recipes for tinctures and other medicinal ways to use garlic.
When is garlic harvested?
Typically around the summer solstice. In early summer, you will start to see the garlic leaves turning brown. That’s how you know it’s go time and it’s time to enjoy a bountiful harvest!
What about crop rotation?
Do not plant garlic where onions or a member of the onion family have been planted the year before. It is a good idea to follow brassicas, such as broccoli or cauliflower. The next crop after garlic would ideally be potatoes. This will help the soil as some plants use too much nitrogen, other plants help it.